Cost recovery - at what cost?
The world trend is to recover costs for services and products provided by government. No longer is it a matter of what might be desirable in presenting and implementing agricultural policy – rather it is, what are the economic realities. The New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (NZ MAF) was confronted by the economic reality. No longer was the farmer to be treated as if he was special. To remain a relevant organization the NZ MAF had to come out from behind the farm gate and actively identify where it could successfully compete in the market place. The facts were: • Restructure to operate as an economic unit • Reduce staff numbers • Develop a new culture • Produce to survive Three years after the introductory charges and eight months after major restricting the important lessons are: A) Develop a functional focus with clear objectives, a clear idea of where the organisation is going and how to get there B) Identify clients and tailor products/services to their needs C) Find out what is important to staff to obtain job satisfaction and develop the new culture around it That is the economic reality and now it can be argued that the tax payer won’t be expected to provide services for the benefit of a limited few. However, in the zeal for profit, there is a danger of undermining the proper role of the state as the guardian of the interests of the whole society. Will the public service that emerges from the profit making state be appropriate – is it the best way to serve the public and be a good employer?... [Show full abstract]